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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  November 21, 2020 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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skating at rockefeller center. the rink officially opened this afternoon. there are some people there, small group. they have to limit the number of people on the ice, and people have to wear masks and social distancing is encouraged. >> we're back at 6:00. >> see you then. tonight, out of control. nearly 200,000 new covid cases in 1 day the new curfews and restrictions across the country. the dire warnings from the coronavirus task force. >> this is faster, it's broader, and what worries me it could be longer. >> the grim work, one city has inmates and now the national guard taking on. airports at their most crowded since the pandemic began despite the cdc's plea to americans to stay home for the holidays. >> nothing's stopping me, nothing. even longer lines at testing sites as people try to get tested before seeing family an inside look at what's happening right
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now as the fda begins approval of the first covid vaccine, and we take you inside the giant worldwide operation to distribute it. how one carrier plans to move billions of vaccines at temperatures well below zero. sweden's surge and the new restrictions now in place did their herd immunity experiment fail the scare in the air. the windshield of this american airlines plane cracked all over with passengers on board. and music with heart. gloria estefan's new mission and the heroic nurses who are stealing the show. ♪ ♪ stand by me this is "nbc nightly news" with jose diaz-balart >> good evening. as we hit more than 12 million covid cases today, the country finds itself in a perfect storm, a surging virus mixed with colder weather plus the strong pull of family and tradition.
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we're all making hard decisions about the upcoming holiday airports are crowded as many choose to travel to see family but hospitals are crowded, too, many at a breaking point it took nearly 100 days for the u.s. to reach its first million covid cases. now there were more than 1 million new cases this week alone but there is some light on the horizon today's day one of the fda working to approve a vaccine. we're covering every angle so you can make informed decisions in the coming days, and we begin with meagan fitzgerald >> reporter: tonight, a dire picture of a virus spiraling out of control shattering records. almost 200,000 new cases friday alone nearly 1.2 million just last week, infecting more people than the entire population of rhode island and as the number of americans hospitalized reaches new heights the task force top doctor warns the surge is getting worse.
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>> this is faster, it's broader, and what worries me it could be longer. >> reporter: in california, infections are rising faster than ever before. hospitals in santa clara county, near silicon valley, on track to exceed capacity >> the choices that each of us make in the next two weeks may mean the difference between enough hospital capacity to care for all of us and our families and friends. >> reporter: across the state new restrictions taking effect, residents being asked to stay home and nonessential businesses now under curfew. >> it's just a little bit of a reminder for everybody to be careful and be cautious, and health is important and, you know, this is just a temporary thing. >> reporter: in el paso, texas, overwhelmed with cases, the national guard now rushing in to relieve prison inmates who are currently moving covid victims into mobile morgues. in newark, new jersey, the infection rate close to 20%, now the
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mayor's cracking down urging nonessential businesses to temporarily close and asking residents to get tested college football also being tackled. 18 games canceled or postponed, including clemson and florida state, announced this morning just three hours before kickoff. and while a vaccine could be weeks away it won't come soon enough for the hundreds of health care workers like alexander pe's mother pilar who lost her life fighting the virus. >> she was a caregiver at heart. >> reporter: a nurse who refused to retire. >> it is like a fireman going into a fire you know she went into a burning building and she didn't come out. i'm immensely proud of her. >> reporter: a sacrifice made by too many americans >> meagan joins us from los angeles those restrictions are already in effect where you are. >> reporter: jose, that's right
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as of last night in los angeles, all nonessential businesses like restaurants, wineries and breweries that line the street behind me here have to close by 10:00 p.m. and further limit outdoor capacity which is a lifeline to so many of these owners struggling to survive. jose >> meagan fitzgerald in los angeles, thank you. in many parts of the country today was all about waiting in lines. lines for covid tests and others for flights as the holiday travel rush begins but it's a major risk healt exrts are warning against. blayne alexander reports from the world's busiest airport in atlanta >> reporter: with thanksgiving just around the corner, in city after city, scenes like these. airports packed with passengers, despite the dire warning from the cdc urging all americans to stay at home. >> nothing's stopping me, nothing. >> reporter: on friday, the tsa processed more than a million passengers, only the second time hitting that threshold since march and a 15% rise over the week before in boston --
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>> i am nervous but i want to be with my babies. >> reporter: chicago. >> i feel safe to fly. i think we should all fly for thanksgiving. >> reporter: and around the country, from long lines at airports to long lines at testing sites, people rushing to get last-minute screenings. >> just for the travel >> doesn't matter how long i wait. i want to get a sense of relief. >> reporter: experts say get tested as close to departure as possible, isolate before and after you travel and test again once you arrive. but they caution testing is not foolproof. also fanning out around the country, thousands of college students many schools offering so-called exit testing. most campuses remaining closed until spring semester. >> my last test was on wednesday of this week. it's now saturday. >> reporter: julia gardner and her friends ar sophomores at duke university, they're making the nearly eight-hour drive from north carolina home to new york why did you choose to drive instead of fly >> definitely feel
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more comfortable in the car with people who i have been with all semester regardless, rather than on a plane and in an airport with a bunch of strangers. >> reporter: now with cases on the rise across the country, experts fear those numbers will spike after the holiday. a brutal combination of cold weather an pandemic fatigue. >> that's what's scaring us and one thing we're battling that we didn't battl in march is the environment. cold, dry air. we are just tired of it we want that vaccine we want to go see our loved ones. >> from hartsfield international airport in atlanta, blayne, what is the cdc telling people who are traveling? >> reporter: jose, they have a number of tips they say that if you are deciding t travel this holiday season you should know the quarantine guidelines of the place you are going, know if you will hav to quarantine there or when you return back home they're also urging everybody to get a flu
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shot before you travel and mask, should be wears a mask and two or more layers or added protection but again, jose, the cdc says that the safest course of action is to just stay home this year jose >> blayne alexander in atlanta, thank you. now to the hope on the horizon, the first coronavirus vaccine was just submitted to the fda fo emergency approval, that process something of a mystery to many so tonight we're giving you an inside look at how the agency will make its decision and how quickly. here's kathy park. >> reporter: tonight, pfizer and biontech's emergency authorizatio request for a covid-19 vaccine is in the hands of the fda setting the clock on an approval process that begins now. >> typically how long does that process take >> well, there's no typical under these circumstances. >> reporter: we talked to former fda officials and advisers who have been through this process before. >> well, the companies will present a great dossier of all their information to the food and drug administration and
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their internal experts will then start to review it but very quickly. >> reporter: this data includes results o more than 40,000 trial participants and 2 months of safety follow-ups by early december they'll present their evaluation to an independent advisory committee. >> which is some of the top vaccine scientists from around the country and that will be in public. >> it is a very rigorous process by independent experts. >> reporter: the discussions will be streamed live providing full transparency >> we want to be confident before it's used widely that the vaccine doesn't have any unexpected side effects. >> the vaccine is enormously important. there's not a lot of room for error >> reporter: those hearings will likely last just a few days. >> and then fda will make a final decision, probably pretty quickly. >> reporter: after the fda grants a company emergency use -- >> now the question is who ought to receive it and so the baton get passed to the cdc's advisory committee on immunization practices
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and then this incidence will be done very, very quickly >> reporter: the cdc likely to determine health care workers, first responders and older adults get the vaccine first. doses could be distributed immediately. >> within a day after that, we'll be seeing those vaccines injected into americans. >> it's really quite possible that we could start vaccinating before the end of the year. >> reporter: an ambitious target date being watched by the world. >> another vaccine front-runner moderna is expected to apply for emergency use authorization. >> reporter: jose, that's right and this could be happening soon so experts say that two vaccines could be available around mid-december for emergency use. jose >> kathy park in new york city, thank you. now to politics and president trump's new efforts to discredit the election results even if there's another covid outbreak in his inner circle garrett haake reports.
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>> reporter: president trump spending much of the day at his virginia golf course while his allies take swings at the election results fighting to delay certifications in both states the president lost but claims he won. rnc chairwoman rhonda mcdaniel and the head of the michigan republican party sending this letter calling on that state's board of canvassers not to certify the statewide results on monday as scheduled but to pause 14 days for an audit of wayne county's vote instead. joe biden carried michigan by more than 150,000 votes. tonight 24 of the 36 legal challenges by the president and his allies have already been denied, dismissed, settled or withdrawn according to a nbc news count including a lawsuit meant to halt the certification of the results in georgia dismissed by a trump appointed federal judge. a dozen cases remain active >> state law now requires the governor's office to formalize the certification which paves the way for the
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trump campaign to pursue other legal options. >> reporter: in wisconsin, a recount of two heavily democratic counties requested and paid for by the trump campaign continues this weekend election officials hope to complete it by thanksgiving and as the president focuses on fighting the election results, the coronavirus continues to sweep through his inner circle four white house aides have tested positive this week, as has donald trump jr. asymptomatic and under quarantine. >> you may have seen it by now but apparently i got the rona. >> reporter: a g20 side meeting held virtually today on pandemic preparedness and response dre world leaders ranging from saudi arabia's king to italy's prime minister. >> the international community has faced the pandemic which is unprecedented. >> reporter: president trump was on his golf course during the meeting at which no americans spoke. >> garrett, late tonight, another trump campaign lawsuit was thrown out. >> reporter: yeah, that's right a federal judge tossing out a lawsuit in pennsylvania this had been argued by rudy giuliani,
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pennsylvania expected to certify its results for joe biden on monday jose >> garrett haake at the white house, thank you. coming up, sweden's failed experiment how their dangerous covid gamble went wrong.
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we're back with sweden's risky experiment to combat covid. officials there decided not to lock down hoping that would lead to widespread immunity but now cases are surging.
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bill neely has details. >> reporter: sweden is in crisis. its hospitals are admitting covid patients faster than anywhere in europe today it reported its worst week of infections ever so sweden's getting tough and changing course. bars and restaurants are now forced to close from 10:30 at night. many owners unhappy. >> it's going to take away like 33% from us, from the business so it's going to cost. >> reporter: for some simply closing early makes little sense. >> if we are a threat to health i think we should be closed down. >> reporter: on stockholm streets last night people kept drinking outside bars. but sweden's government is still stopping short of a lockdown anywhere. >> we don't believe in a total lockdown we believe that the measures we have taken, the decisions we are taking are appropriate. >> reporter: until now
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sweden imposed few restrictions, gambling that letting covid spread in spring would mean herd immunity in fall it was wrong. >> it was done in a way that no other country had done and in my opinion that was extremely dangerous. >> reporter: one way of judging sweden is to compare it to its neighbors. it doesn't look good sweden's death toll is four times higher than all its neighbors combined it's failing to test enough so it's appealing to neighbors for help and starting next week it's banning public meetings of more than eight people. >> i definitely think that's the right thing to do. >> reporter: as the holiday season approaches it's not ruling out tighter restrictions, even sweden may now be abandoning the swedish experiment infections are rising across most of europe. 15 million cases now the world health organization says someone dies of covid in europe every 17 seconds. some countries with strict lockdowns are
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seeing signs of progress, sweden which doesn't even recommend face masks, isn't one of them. jose >> bill neely, thank you. still to come, a historic challenge, our behind the scenes look at how to deliver covid vaccines in an astonishing 94 degrees below 0. a terrifying air scare after takeoff.
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we're back with a terrifying scare aboard an american airlines flight today.
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the cockpit windshield shattered seen in the images from tmz. the plane was traveling to cleveland from chicago when it happened. the pilots turned back and landed safely. now to the historic challenges to deliver a covid vaccine once it's available. it's a race against time and temperatures as low as 94 below tonight kevin tibbles with a behind th scenes with a look at what it's all going to take >> reporter: two extremely promising vaccines. >> moderna showing a 94.5% efficacy rate. >> pfizer said the vaccine is 95% effective. >> reporter: the next monumental challenge, delivery. >> this is an undertaking unlike i think anything mankind has done before. we are literally talking about vaccinating every man, woman and child on the planet. >> reporter: the logistics are daunting not only do vaccines need to travel thousands of miles, they need to be kept cold. >> temperature's everything these vaccines need to be kept cold, some of
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them need to be kept frozen. >> reporter: at chicago's o'hare airport ground crews have just four hours to unload and reload giant 747s that crisscross the pole. >> you need to move the product as quickly as possible. >> reporter: this is one way vaccines will reach their destination. we toured dhl's giant chicago warehouse. before the two potential vaccines were announced here temperature is everything. it's a lot colder in here. how cold is it in here >> 2 to 8 degrees celsius. >> reporter: specially designed containers can be set to maintain cold during the flight. >> extremely cold. really cold. >> reporter: for extreme cold, the pfizer vaccine needs to be kept at negative 94 degrees, containers are also packed with dry ice. once a vaccine arrives, the race against the clock begins >> hopefully from the time it leaves the manufacturer until the time it gets to the final distribution center no more than two to three days. >> reporter: drug companies like pfizer
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will keep close watch when its vaccine hits the market. >> we are tracking planes and trucks with precious vaccine in our shipper and we are tracking the temperature, as well. >> reporter: when there is a vaccine it will take some 8,000 fully loaded 747 cargo planes to deliver 1 billion doses to the u.s. market. an enormous logistics undertaking for all shippers from fedex to u.p.s. to dhl. >> recently we expanded our cold chain facilities here in the u.s. opening up indianapolis with a $1.6 million investment >> reporter: are you ready? >> yes, we are. we're ready. >> reporter: in a race for vaccine time and temperature are everything kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. and when we come back, superstar gloria estefan's new mission to help nurses around the world.
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there's good news tonight about empowering health care heroes, nurses on the front lines during this crisis and a superstar couple's personal mission to make sure they're supported during and after the pandemic through the darkest days of the pandemic, nurses have been tirelessly caring for our most vulnerable. >> when we come here, and put our gear on, we know that we're walking into a war zone.
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>> reporter: but now in their greatest time of need a group of superstar performers banding together on thanksgiving for a special online benefit concert called nurse heroes live. >> i'm so excited, and quite frankly, really proud of what you all are preparing for this coming thanksgiving. >> you're talking from people like stevie wonder, celine dion, josh groban, andrea bocelli >> we have it right in her house. >> reporter: for emilio estefan and his wife world renowned performer gloria estefan, helping organize this show has special meaning. >> we are experiencing a shortage of nurses worldwide. we have lost a lot of them during the pandemic. >> reporter: the cause personal for gloria. her sister becky is a nurse. >> i am incredibly proud of the work that she does and very thankful to her. >> reporter: the concert will raise funds for the nurse heroes foundation providing scholarships worldwide.
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>> virtually everyone's life has been touched by a nurse. they care for us individually and as a nation, as a world every day. here's our opportunity to do something for them ♪ >> reporter: the real stars of the show names you might not recognize like new york city e.r. nurse cassidy tolbin she'll be performing as part of the nurse well nursing choir ♪ stand by me for cassidy, it's a reason to celebrate after an exhausting year that included her own battle with covid. >> you see all these people rallyin together to support us means the world and so inspiring. ♪ >> reporter: a helping hand for heroes, lifting voices and hearts with songs of support. >> we need to try to make it as easy as possible for nurses to become nurses and help
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out in every way we can. they've really put their lives on the line for us. >> the concert streams online at on thanksgiving night that's "nightly news" for this saturday i'm jose diaz-balart thank you for the privilege of your time and good night ♪
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the news at 6:00 starts right now. >> cases are rising at an alarming rate and today more evidence. california adding more than 15,400 cases just today. that is a one day record. the fear is we're going to set more records as we head into the holiday week. >> to flatten the curve the governor's office is implementing a curfew that will start tonight at 10:00 and impact the counties in the most restrictive purple tier which is a majority of the bay area. >> marianne favro live in lot gatos with what you can and can't do during it stay at home order. >> people we talked to say they understand why the curfew -- here in los gatos it's bustling tonight with people shopping, dining and


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